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Dr Christopher McCormick Applied BSc, DPhil, PGCert

Associate Professor of Virology, Deputy Programme Lead for BM4

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Associate Professor Christopher McCormick is an Associate Professor of Virology at the University of Southampton.

The study of complex biological mechanisms at the molecular level require facile genetic experimental systems – viruses are no exception.

Dr Christopher McCormick is an Associate Professor of Virology within the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton. He obtained his BSc at the University of Bath and DPhil at the University of Oxford before undertaking infectious disease postdoctoral work at the University of Leeds. Dr McCormick joined the University of Southampton in May 2005.

Dr McCormick’s current research interests focus on the molecular mechanisms that support positive strand RNA virus replication as well as strategies these same viruses use to evade host immunity. His work at Southampton in collaboration with Prof. Ian Clarke led to the first reverse genetics system for noroviruses and he has pioneered the development of other novel genetic complementation systems to study both viral genome replication and virus particle formation. Viruses that his group have work on include hepatitis C virus, bovine viral diarrhoea virus, mouse norovirus, rhinovirus, yellow fever virus. Recently, Dr McCormick has become academic lead for SARS-CoV-2 level 3 biocontainment studies, working in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Southampton to better understand virus pathology and develop treatments. He has received funding from the MRC, the Royal Society, the Asthma, Allergy and Inflammation Research charity and the Rosetrees Trust.

Degree Qualifications

Appointments held

Past lab members

Current lab members

Research interests

Chris is interested in the molecular mechanisms that underpin positive strand RNA virus replication and the how these groups of viruses are able to avoid immunity and cause disease.

PhD supervision

  • Michela Marongiu, PhD student (2006-2009)
  • Edward Sullivan, PhD student (2013-2017)
  • Rafael Gomes, PhD student (2013-2017)

Research Projects

The genetics of genome replication in members of the Flaviviridae family of viruses

Flaviviridae family members include hepatitis C virus, Dengue Virus, Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus and Zika Virus, all significant human/animal pathogens. We are using intragenomic replicons (viruses that have been made quasi-diploid) and other more traditional systems to undertake genetic complementation studies aimed at understanding the process of viral RNA genome replication.

Collaborators : Dr John McLauchlan (Glasgow), Prof Norbert Tautz (Lübeck), Dr Brett Lindenbach (Yale)

Shut-down of infected host cell responses by Rhinovirus

Rhinoviruses are the leading infectious cause of asthma exacerbation. These pathogens take over the host cell but using their two proteases, 2A and 3C to shut down host cell transcription and translation. We are looking at whether natural variation in the host substrates targeted by these proteases influences infected cell responses in ways that could alter disease outcome.

Collaborators: Prof Donna Davies (Southampton).

Development of a COVID-19 point-of-care detection system

The recent COVID-19 pandemic necessitates the need for mass produced, cheap, affordable point-of-care devices. Using novel techniques that enhance the sensitivity of standard lateral flow detection, we are working to develop a test to identify COVID-19 infected individuals.

Collaborators: Prof Rob Eason, Dr Collin Sones, Prof Myron Christodoulides, Dr Tristan Clarke (Southampton)


Clinical and Experimental Sciences

Affiliate Department(s)

Infection and Immunity Research group

Faculty of Medicine

  • Faculty representative on Biological Safety Committee
  • Molecular Microbiology Lead for BMedSci student placements

National and International responsibilities

  • Editor for Journal of General Virology
  • Virus Division member in the Microbiology Society
  • External examiner, Medical Microbiology MSc, University of Surrey
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  • BM4 deputy programme lead
  • BM4 Year 1 assessment lead
  • Personal Tutor
  • BM4. Delivers immunology and virology based lectures. Facilitates small group teaching. Sets and marks assessments.
  • Integrated PhD Respiratory pathway. Delivers virology teaching.
  • BM5. Delivers virology lectures
Dr Christopher McCormick
Tel: 023 8179 6993

Room Number: SGH/LC77/MP814

Telephone:(023) 8120 6993

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